Nazis & Nord Stream 2
Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has a history of appeasing the Kremlin. In this, he follows in the footsteps of his political mentor, Gerhard Schroeder, who is Vladimir Putin’s overpaid toady and one of the West’s most morally reprehensible sellouts.
But Steinmeier outdid himself in idiocy by justifying the building of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline because of guilt over the Nazi’s invasion of the Soviet Union and the killing of 20 million people during World War II.
His tortured logic to the Rheinische Post: Since Russia and Germany have mostly energy ties left, Nord Stream 2 is a form of penance for what happened 80 years ago.
If that is the case, then Nord Stream 2 shouldn’t be built at all.
Ukraine lost more people than Russia. All of Ukraine suffered under alternating control of Nazi Germany and the Soviets. The Germans exploited Ukrainians as slave labor and, sadly, used some of them as enforcers and enablers of the Holocaust. Stuck between Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin — and only a decade removed from the Holodomor — Ukrainians often faced death or awful choices. Given the history, it’s a miracle that 40 million Ukrainians are alive today in an independent Ukraine.
After emerging from centuries of repression and territorial annexation only 30 years ago, Ukraine is again being victimized by its Russian overlords, who control 7 percent of the nation’s territory, and Berlin’s economic greed and selfishness. Germany knows full well the consequences of Nord Stream 2. The extra 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas that will annually be transported from Russia to Germany will come at the expense of Ukraine. As a stop-gap measure, Germany helped broker a deal in which Ukraine will earn at least $7.5 billion to transit Russian gas through 2024. Even worse, however, Nord Stream 2 undermines the possibility of tough Western sanctions against Russia for its flagrant international crimes.
Far from being contrite, Steinmeier was arrogant over the furor in Ukraine over his remarks.
His wasn’t the only embarrassing performance by a high-ranking European official recently. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s top diplomat, got outfoxed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a Feb. 4-6 visit to Moscow. Borrell withered under Lavrov’s attacks.
The Kyiv Post turns to Judy Dempsey, editor-in-chief of Strategic Europe, to help make sense of it all. In a Feb. 9 op-ed, Dempsey wrote that the EU has no coherent foreign policy. And that’s fine with the Kremlin, which plays one nation off against another in the 27-nation bloc.
“As leader of the EU’s most important country, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has the authority to give Europe the foreign policy that it sorely needs. But Merkel is no strategist. If she were, she could have used Nord Stream 2 as leverage over Moscow,” Dempsey wrote. “This lack of strategic thinking…will only change once Berlin makes the leap from defending national interests to defending European interests and giving the union the authority it needs to project a strong, common foreign policy. And one that combines interests with values. As it is, even inside the EU, Germany is doing the opposite.”
And that poor leadership led us to the moral failures of Steinmeier and Borrell.